Thursday, 25 August 2016

Thankful Thursday

So it seems I was a little hasty in being grateful for a brief battle with a cold last week. I have been more sick this past week than I have in years. I am still fighting hard but feels like a while left in this battle. Finding gratitude  has been far more difficult this week.

  • I am so thankful for my husband this week. He has had to pick up the slack to get essentials done despite an injured back. He even makes night runs to the shops to get treats that will settle my stomach and give me a boost.

  • I am also grateful for my mum who has taken care of my daughter, stayed to help with her bedtime and brought me flowers. My dad also made a shop run for me and I know he is praying for me.

  • I managed to write 3 pieces to submit to the Amen Paper Company Advent devotional. With so many writers contributing, I know the chances of one of my pieces making it in is slim but my creativity and writing brain was sparked and sizzling in a way it hasn't in a while. I can't wait for this devotional to be released.

  • My house is filled with flowers at the moment. The ones I received last week are still going strong. I made a bouquet at MOPS under the tutoring of a florist and my mum and daughter bought me more. I love being surrounded by beautiful bits of nature in my home, especially being stuck here so much.

  • Beautiful sunshine days allowing outside play. I wish I could take more advantage of them but love that my girl can get outside and get her hands dirty.

  • The release date of the Five Minute Friday book is drawing closer. One of my pieces is in it along with many other wonderful writers. The best part is the proceeds are going to charity. I love that I can play a small part in impacting lives.

  • I was feeling frustrated with how little I could do this week. I have been wanting to crochet a headband for myself all winter. Hooray for a hobby that requires little energy and can be done reclining. Very happy with the result.

Have you had an easy gratitude week or has it been a struggle? I would love to hear what you are thankful for this week in the comments or through the link up.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Thankful Thursday

The days keep ticking by whether I use them well or waste them, feel overwhelmed or capable, embrace them or dread them. Their progress is not impacted by me. It is my choice how I use my days. On Thursdays, I choose to stop and be thankful.

  • The number one thing on my gratitude list today is the cold I have battled this week. That may seem strange in many ways. I realised today that I am thankful for it as it forced me to rest, it came the worst over a weekend when my husband was home to care for my daughter and me and has seemed to act as a reset button to my stress levels (likely related to the rest). I am bouncing back fairly well without it turning into bronchitis (which used to be the normal with my asthma). 
  • The caring heart my daughter has demonstrated once again this week. From insisting I rest whenever she saw me up and about to her excitement over being given a coin for her money box so that she can "save money to give to kids who don't have much money so they can pay for shopping." That care may not always translate into reality (see picture of me attempting to rest below) but her heart is gold.

  • Surprise flowers from my secret office gifter. Our office does a secret Santa type arrangement but it lasts the entire year and you never know when a gift may appear. They brightened my desk at work and now brighten my table at home. 

  • The opportunity to share the great work of MOPS at Beyond's Brave Women's breakfast. The speakers were inspirational and I had the pleasure of having my sister-in-law with me for a much needed catch up. It generated interest in MOPS and may even have resulted in a new MOPS group.

  • Unexpected opportunities to submit writing and actually having ideas flowing for the pieces. Now the challenge to carve out time to sit and get those words out of the swirling ether of my mind on to a document. I am also thankful that I will have extra time over the next few days that I can put towards writing as my husband goes away for the weekend. There are many other tasks that are vying for this space but writing will be my indulgence.
  • My daughter's love for meeting with our connect group from church. We didn't go this week as I have been sick and she was devastated! Many tears missing the other members of our group. I especially love this because most of the group don't have children. The way they have loved Isabel and formed community for her and us warms my heart. I desire strong Godly men and women who can speak truth into her life. They are part of the village that we belong to.

I love hearing about what you are thankful for in the midst of your everyday lives. Leave a comment or link up your own post.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Thankful Thursday

It is amazing what a difference a week can make in your outlook on life. Last week was tough for me. I felt like I had reached the end of my capacity. This week, I feel like I have found another reserve. I dug that new reserve with rest, connecting with God, spending time with my people and processing through my words. I won't lie and say I have it all together this week. I am learning to get comfortable with feeling stretched. I am learning to let go of some of the standards I hold myself to. I am learning to be more aware of where the minutes of my day go. At least, I am today. Who knows what tomorrow brings?!

This week I am thankful for:
  • A wonderful family day instigated by my husband. My tendency is to be a homebody. He draws us out and finds new adventures for us to embrace. We went to the Toodyay International Food Festival where we could watch the kayaks go by for the Avon Descent. My daughter had a blast and we bonded as a family. The combination of delighting in her delight, being surrounded by nature and creating memories together filled my heart.

  • Participating in The Marriage Course through my church. It isn't always comfortable but it is giving me the space and the nudge (or shove) to communicate in ways I don't normally. It has been a revelation to me (and my husband, poor guy) how much I keep bottled up. I love the date night and talk time we have through this course. I look forward to seeing the fruit of this course in many more years with the man I love so deeply.
  • Rekindling my love of crochet. I have so enjoyed pulling out my yarn and hooks this past few weeks. I may not have much to show for my efforts with many pull out and redo sessions but the creativity and relaxation it provides is worth it. It is even more satisfying when I know what I am making it will be a gift. I can't show any photos yet as that would ruin the surprise for those I am making for!
  • My ability to say no. This has been a long challenge for me. I have seen the growth in myself in being able to choose my best yes and put priority where it is needed. The people pleasing tendency still clamours for attention but doesn't have the final say anymore.
  • My precious girl and her love of praise and worship music. The blur below is an example of her all out abandon in singing songs to her Jesus. She challenges me to worship throughout my day with reckless abandon.

I love hearing from you about what you are thankful for. What beauty or goodness have you seen in your days?

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Seeking happiness- Five Minute Friday

Seeking to be happy seems to consume so many in our world. Even in our parenting, we are so often wanting our children to be happy. I wonder if we are shortchanging ourselves and our kids? I am blessed to have many moments of being happy but it is always fleeting and temporary. We cannot live life perpetually happy. Life is full of the low times, the neutral times as well as the happy times. It is this rich tapestry that is woven to give our lives meaning, depth, wholeness. 
Instead of happiness, I want to seek joy. I am still working out the real meaning of this but have a sense that joy is an entirely different animal. I have a sense of it being a deep soul state that lasts through the changeable situations of life. I want that. For me, I seek this through my faith and I think I am finding it. I know what it is to live in depression. I am not in that place now, even with exhaustion and stress and having to sort through some issues. Joy sustains me.

This post was inspired by the Five Minute Friday prompt word "happy". Five Minute Friday is a community of writers that write furiously for only five minutes on the same prompt. A different way of writing and I love to see what thoughts flow through my fingers. You can read the other posts here.
There are also details of a book release in that post. That book contains some of my words!

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Thankful Thursday

On a cold wintery day, in the midst of a week where I am battling exhaustion and re-evaluating where my time is going and how to recharge, Thankful Thursday comes around again. Developing gratitude is good for my soul and focuses my eyes on the good in my life.

This week I am thankful for:
  • The impact that merely 15 minutes spent on the beach can have in soothing the frazzled soul within. An added bonus is the effect it has on my daughter. I watch her light up from the inside while digging her hands in the sand and dipping her feet in the cold ocean. Sheer delight!

  • My husband and our marriage. We are doing a marriage course together as a way to give our relationship a good service and check up. At a session on the weekend we were reminded of the need to appreciate each other and communicate specifically what we appreciate. The words he spoke to me meant so much. This was taken even further when he prayed for me at our church small group meeting, specifically around the MOPS roles I am juggling. I felt quite teary and have had that warm fuzzy feeling whenever I think of it.

  • Taking time to write and inspiration and ideas starting to flow a little more. I haven't had the opportunity to explore these inklings to the depth I need to put into words but it is coming.

  • I own a domain name!! This feels like a very grown up step for my blog and a step of identifying with being a writer. I am yet to wrap my head around getting this blog to that domain name but watch this space!

  • My daughter's personality and creative side showing in different ways. Normally when I ask her how she wants her hair done, her answer is pigtails or just a clip. On this day, it was a "swirl around her head". I was so thankful that I had taken time the evening before to get more organised so that I could say yes to that request. It turned out so well.

I love hearing from you about what you are thankful for. Join me in the link up below or in the comments.

If you missed my reflections on what I learned in July, you can read about them here.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

What I learned in July

We have arrived at the end of July, which always signifies the start of the slide to the end of the year. We have tipped over the half way point. July was quite an epic month for us in many ways. I often discover more of what I've learned as I write and reflect, so join me on a journey of unpacking what I learned in July.
  • It is possible to experience our wettest camping trip ever while staying in the Pilbara (semi-arid desert area) in the dry season. The area received 400% of its average July's rainfall in two weeks! I was incredibly thankful for my last minute (as in 4am) reach for our raincoats. If only I had grabbed the boots that I considered a waste of space for this time of year!

  • I was reminded how crucial my attitude is for setting the atmosphere in my family. When experiencing such a wet trip, with all the disappointed plans that came with, it would have been easy to allow myself to give in to the grumpiness that threatened. Instead we were still able to turn our time into  a family adventure. I won't pretend to have been a picture of happiness and enthusiasm every moment and it didn't always carry through to later stages of our trip. I think that perspective of sections of the trip where I did maintain a healthier attitude alongside times I did note bring this point home to me. 

  • The beach has a unique ability to restore parched depths of my soul. I hadn't realised how long it had been since I had spent time by the ocean (despite living only 10 minutes drive from the beach). I could sense it the instant I was on the shore. I heard a speaker mention "thin places" where connection with God feels more real and tangible and is easier. The beach is my thin place. I am now trying to figure out how I can build in more times at the beach into my everyday life to plug into that soul recharge. 

  • I live in a vast country with scenery that is breathtaking and diverse. We drove for four days to reach our final destination for this latest adventure. We hadn't left the state yet! My husband did the return journey in two days when on his own without a four year old requiring frequent stops, but they were LONG days. I thought I had an idea about what the Pilbara and Karijini National Park would look like based on some photos I had seen. Those images did little to prepare me for the reality of being there. The views and scenery can't possibly be caught on camera in their full glory. The red mounds of earth rising up from the flattest desert takes you by surprise. The gorges plunge down with ancient layers of dirt visible on each side. I marvelled at the immensity and intricacy of this part of creation.

  • I have hit the point of overwhelm sooner than I expected in the transition to a new volunteer role. This is mainly due to not having found someone to take over either of the two previous roles I am still carrying. While I know mentally that this is just a short term season, I sense my mind and body waving red flags and sending up warning bells. My mentor helped me to realise just how overwhelmed I was feeling. I am taking steps to manage this, building in periods of soul care and creativity in the midst of busy days and seeking longer term solutions to the load I am working under. The drained feeling is an indicator that I have switched into more of operating in my own strength and wisdom rather than leaning on God. Drawing closer to Him will be crucial in this season. 
  • I have long been intrigued by the Passion Translation I have heard bits about. I love Bible study and often refer across multiple translations. I have enjoyed the Message version for shifting my overfamiliarity with portions of Scripture and making me think and connect to them in a new way. I suspected the Passion Translation would have a similar effect. I was right. I am looking at Psalms for the rest of the year with my church small group and found the Kindle version of the Psalms and Proverbs on sale. I have loved this fresh perspective on verses that I know well. 
Let's see what new learning or relearning I discover in August.

I have been writing these posts for over a year now and enjoyed looking back on where my head was at last year at this time. If you're interested, you can read that post here.

Linking up with Emily Freeman. You can read her post on what she learned over summer here. It hasn't been summer here in Australia of course so kept my post about the month.